Sgt. Andrew Harvell Comes Home

His mother's grief is inconsolable. His wife's sadness is so deep, she is still numb.

Special Section: America Remembers

On Tuesday, the tragic loss of their 26-year-old "Andy" became even more painfully real. The body of Air Force Staff Sgt. Andrew Harvell, killed when his Chinook Helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan, came home to Los Alamitos.

A small group from his hometown of Long Beach welcomed him home. They are determined to keep his memory alive.

"He had a great personality, just like his mom," said Malissa Paige, a close family friend. "He was funny, helpful to his mom and he liked to have a good time. He loved outdoor things. He liked to play football, and they'd have parties, they'd go camping. He loved outdoor things."

He was the middle child, between older brother Sean and younger sister Analese. He joined the Air Force right out of high school, because his brother did the same. And because of 9/11.

While he was training in North Carolina, he fell in love with Krista. And now he leaves behind two children, Hunter, 3 and Ethan, just five months.

"He was respectful and funny ," said Angelita Ramirez. "He spoke to his mother everyday. He was a great Dad."

It's been a month now since the helicopter Staff Sgt. Harvell was in was brought down in Afghanistan, taking his life and those of his crew. His ultimate sacrifice is now one that his family must bear. His mom will honor a special request.

"It was her son's wishes that she should go back to North Carolina to help raise his kids," said Ramirez. "She's going to do that."

Staff Sgt. Harvell's family requested the presence of the media for his return, because they are proud of his service. His funeral will be Saturday at Forest Lawn Long Beach, with interment at the Los Angeles National Cemetery.

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